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Posted on December 8 at 10:58 a.m.
The answer to the Santa Barbara district elections question is contained in the story itself-(the experts for both the City and the plaintiffs found racial polarization.) "There is little doubt that Judge Geck will rule that Santa Barbara’s voting patterns reflect racial polarization as defined by the California Voting Rights Act. The City Council voted to place the matter on the ballot only after its own paid expert concluded such polarization, in fact, existed. In the past 20 years, only two Latinos — Cathy Murillo and Gil Garcia — have been elected to the council, one African American — Babatunde Folayemi, and one Asian-Pacific Islander — Das Williams. The city consultant’s report will not be released to the public, stated Calonne, because the results remain too methodologically “coarse” and because it constitutes “attorney-client work product.” Cappello hired an expert of his own, and that expert also concluded the city’s voting results are racially polarized." The City of Palmdale is fighting district elections-take a look at what they have to say about costs: A lawsuit filed against Palmdale is on appeal after that Antelope Valley city fought and lost the case.The public statement read at the City Council meeting tonight noted the potential high cost of battling the issue in court.“A trial and possible subsequent appeal of the lawsuit would be very costly to the city, perhaps as much as $1.5 million or more to defend,” it reads.“Further, if the case resulted in an adverse determination for the city, the city would also have to pay plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees, likely millions, and would have less control over possible remedies than if it acts on its own.” So pick your poison.
On District Election Case Set for April Trial
Posted on December 7 at 10:40 p.m.
This is not that complicated. The California Voting Rights Act spells out what has to be done to prevail in these cases and the "losing" side pays attorneys fees. Unlike the federal Voting Rights Act, the CVRA does not require plaintiffs to demonstrate a specific geographic district where a minority is concentrated enough to establish a majority. This makes it easier for minority voters to sue local governments and eliminate at-large elections.The Act was signed into law on 9 July 2002. Losing is expensive. In 2004, Modesto paid $3 million to the plaintiffs; in 2003, Hanford paid $110,000; in 2008, Madera paid $1.2 million. My point is the longer this goes on, the greater the payout of taxpayer funds. Enough already. Stop with the intellectual exercise. District elections will be a reality in Santa Barbara.
Posted on December 6 at 10:24 p.m.
The fact of the matter is, the City of Santa Barbara is going to get district elections. The city should have figured that out already-given what has been happening in other cities(and special districts) in the state. If Santa Barbara wants to limit the amount of attorney fees paid to the plaintiff's lawyer, then settle this dispute sooner rather than later. Every court hearing and pleading merely adds to the costs that will be paid by city taxpayers. Moaning and groaning about district elections is exactly that-an exercise in the blah/blah culture-and will have no impact as it relates to the future of city governance. It's time to focus on the "how" of district elections. Who will draw the lines ? Some incumbents will either have to move or decline to run again. How will the boundary committee be selected ? Maybe the lines are to be drawn by a judicial officer. How many members of the redistricting committee will there be ? Will the election cycle change to coordinate with state and federal elections (so as to have a higher voter turnout and save the costs of off-year elections) ? These are the kinds of things to be thinking about now, if you really want to have a hand in the future of this city.
Posted on November 14 at 7:18 p.m.
In case anyone is wondering who volunteers their time and treasure to serve on the board of the Milpas Community Association, here's a link: http://www.mcasb.org/?page_id=1381I became involved in the MCA (if you are anonymous on these posting, you must have your reasons-fear, anxiety, cowardice, there are many) after listening to the stories of mothers who had to brave the cracked and broken sidewalks of Milpas Street, holding onto their strollers and the tiny fingers of their children, hauling a wagon crowned with 5 gallon water bottle-only to be confronted by an aggressive, loud and frightening panhandler demanding money. This experience would not be considered a normal part of the Santa Barbara experience-an exercise in authenticity-in any other part of our city. The MCA has done much to enhance and enrich the lives of the men, women and families who call this neighborhood their home. The MCA has earned strong and deep support from people who live, work and shop along this Eastside corridor. Community empowerment takes many forms, and often those in power do not appreciate the competition, but the MCA has given voice to many people who need to be heard. Shoot the messenger all you want-but soon your quiver empties and the hollow sound is all you have left.
On Doubling Down on Milpas Street
Posted on October 5 at 6 p.m.
The next step will be a "forgiveness" of the bed tax for-oh-15 years or the development won't be competitive or pencil out. Then the city will try to come up with some other revenue source to make up the shortfall caused by giving up the bed tax-maybe something like increasing the cost of beachside parking. Sound familiar ?
On Yet More Changes Proposed for La Entrada
Posted on September 21 at 7:24 p.m.
So according to Nick, Jackson was paid by EDC (let's see the check-this is becoming like Romney's invisible tax returns-Jackson has never said how $$ she's been paid so far-or by whom), EDC was paid by PXP (that's a fact), so PXP's $$ was used to pay Jackson to "lobby" for new off-shore oil drilling. This is something to be proud of? How do donors to EDC feel about this?
On Dog Tired
Posted on September 21 at 11:03 a.m.
The author repeats the supposed benefits from the PXP scheme, but failed to include information from the State Lands Commission staff report that calls the "goodies" into question. When you see " marks, that's language from the report.
There were two versions of the PXP arrangement. PXP 1.0 was secret, unavailable to the public (until it was leaked some time later). But when it was reviewed by the Attorney General and the State Lands Commission, this is what they had to say:
“In consultation with the Attorney General’s office, staff attorneys concluded that the goals of the agreement could not be reliably enforced and that the legal context for the public benefit requirements of the agreement prevented staff from devising mechanisms to improve enforceability.”
“The end dates for federal lease production at Point Arguello and Point Pedernales cannot be assured."
It could not be more clear-the deal with PXP could not be enforced.
As for the 3,900 acres of land to be donated-
“…counsel for PXP provided a memo (Exhibit ”I”) advocating that the Commission not try to enforce the Point Arguello end dates and the land donations, but to focus on Point Pedernales and the GHG emissions. Among other things, the memo suggested that the donations could take a long time to complete and that title problems could prevent some of the donations from occurring at all.”
After the PXP deal was rejected by the State Lands Commission, we saw PXP 2.0. This time it was public, but the result was the same-both the AG and State Lands evaluated the "new" PXP scheme and found it flawed and unenforceable.
These are only two aspects of the PXP debacle, there's a lot more to discuss. The public would be better served by an accurate recitation of the facts surrounding PXP's attempt to bring the first new off-shore oil drilling in California Sanctuary Act waters since 1969.
Posted on May 10 at 5:09 p.m.
The Santa Barbara City Council's decision to ignore the pleas from the neighborhood and deny stop lights on two dangerous Milpas Street pedestrian crossings is more than disappointing-it demonstrates why Santa Barbara should have "District Elections" instead of at large, as is done now. A representative elected from the "District" would be accountable to the constituents of that neighborhood, would have to live in that neighborhood, would have to face the families threatened with traffic and could be voted out. Time For A Change..
On Flashing Lights and Restriping for Milpas Street
Posted on April 6 at 6:37 p.m.
Oy ? What is that ? Lupe Anguiano was a 2007 National Women's History Project Honoree. UCLA is hosting her writings, the first addition to the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center's new Mujeres Initiative. The initiative identifies, preserves and makes accessible the history and culture of Chicanas and Latinas in the United States.
She is a community activist and a real educator. Lupe is worthy of respect and should be treated with the dignity she deserves. That she is supporting Jason Hodge speaks volumes. Below is only a small indication of her accomplishments.
Defying any single category of cause or action, Lupe Anguiano, an educator, has always worked for the equality of all people. She is a passionate environment volunteer, helping to protect "Mother Earth" from global warming and other destructive environmental hazards. In 1949, she joined Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters. As a nun, she worked for fifteen years to improve the social, educational, and economic conditions of poor people throughout the United States. Anguiano was also a United Farm Workers’ Volunteer, working directly under the direction of Cesar Chavez in Delano, California. She led the successfully grape boycott in the entire State of Michigan in 1965.
While working to change Welfare Policy for women single parents, Anguiano became involved with the Women’s Liberation Movement of the ‘60s and ‘70s. She worked with outstanding women leaders such as Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug, and other feminists in the formation and founding of the National Women's Political Caucus and helped to bring Catholic support to the Equal Rights Amendment. In 1977, Lupe was elected a delegate to the first State of Texas federally funded Women’s Conference and also elected delegate to First National Women’s Conference held in Houston in November of the same year – where along with Jean Stapleton and Coretta Scott King, she read the “Declaration of American Women." The National Women’s Conference funded by the US Congress is a landmark for women in the United States.
On A Vote for Jason Hodge
Posted on March 22 at 8:27 p.m.
Wow-not sure where the smack-down on community activists comes from. I seem to remember our President was one. Activists help people organize and express themselves or they are ignored. That's been the problem in the Milpas corridor/neighborhoods for a long time. I have never heard anyone from the East Side complain that City Hall has been too responsive. It is important and necessary for activists to galvanize a community so they shake off the apprehension of addressing their government and compel results.
If it wasn't for the community activists there never would have been a standing room only crowd at the meeting tonight where traffic alternatives for Milpas were discussed. If it wasn't for the community activists Milpas would continue to suffer from a lack of attention. There is no such thing as benign neglect, only active disregard.
It was particularly rewarding to see the young people, those who have been living with the consequences of active disregard, march to the microphone and speak to committee members. They did it with confidence and competence. The genie is out of the bottle-they have tasted it and it was obvious they liked it. Their parents have a right to be proud. And thank you community activists for helping to clear a path to the microphone, City Hall and beyond.
On Intersections of Fact and Opinion